Winter break 2015 was particularly fruitful for 37 Ursinus College students who participated in the Office of Career and Professional Development’s extern program. Alumni mentors were matched with students, whom they allowed to shadow them for three to five days. Many participants came from pre-health or science backgrounds and were placed with such organizations as Foundations Behavioral Health, Brandywine Orthopaedics, Main Line Gastroenterology Associates and Vertex Fitness.
First-year student Holly Yost ’18 spent three days with Paul Wagner ’92 V.M.D. at the Harleysville Veterinary Hospital. Yost had some valuable takeaways from her experience saying, “The most memorable aspect of my externship was being able to listen to Dr. Wagner interact with his patients’ owners. I learned that in order to be a vet, you need to strike a certain balance between empathy and practicality.”
For Wagner, there is satisfaction in knowing that he is benefitting students during a very impressionable time in their studies. He says, “It is valuable to give a prospective veterinarian an idea of what a normal (or abnormal) day can be like for a vet. This is an opportunity that was not available to me when I was deciding to become a vet.”
Ivan Sokirniy ’15 shadowed John Sears ’99 Ph.D., MBA, who works in global strategic marketing for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson. Of his externship he says, “Although I knew what I wanted to do career-wise, Dr. Sears helped me assess the likelihoods and options of the various paths I can take.”
Sears was impressed by the strong foundation of knowledge with which Sokirniy was already equipped. He sees the future in these ambitious students and says, “Working with Ivan, I saw all of the potential this generation has to solve global, complex problems through their want to collaborate multiplied by access to information.”
The externship program at Ursinus continues to grow each year, and is open to students from every major. Next year’s extern program is scheduled to take place between January 4-15, 2016.
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